Dodge City takes first two from Garden City in key conference series

Dodge City takes first two from Garden City in key conference series

Dodge City, KS With expected rains to fall Saturday, the first two games of the series between Garden City and Dodge City Community College were moved up to Friday from Cavalier Field. 

While the Conquistadors took care of business, the Broncbusters are now left to contemplate what being swept in the first two games means until they return to the diamond Sunday.  Added to that the impact as both teams reached the halfway point of the season with Dodge entering the games trailing first-place Hutchinson by one game and Garden beginning the day two games behind. Dodge City beat Garden City in the first game 6-4 and then came back with two in the seventh inning of game two to defeat Garden City 3-2. 

In the first game Connor Burns took the ball for Garden City and struggled early on serving up Talon Schaller's 10th homer: a three-run blast and Richard Fullerton's two-run homer to make it 5-0.  For Burns, it was the first two homers he had allowed all season long. 

Burns allowed an unearned run in the second after his team scored their first run on Ty Lightley's groundout bringing in Ty Barclay.  Burns, off a pop up bunt by Brayden Cook back to the mound, slid on his knees and threw wildly to first.  Right fielder Billy Clark went to retrieve the ball in foul ground and fired home where Burns was covering the plate and lunged at Cade Engle and tagged him out attempting to score. 

Cook took third on the play and would then score on Schaller's RBI single to give Dodge City a 6-1 lead.

Burns (5-2) would face the minimum the rest of the way and allowed only one more hit in notching his sixth complete game, but suffered his first loss since the opening game of the season vs. Trinidad State.  The loss snapped his four-game winning streak.

His offense attempted to comeback.  Connor Reynolds stroked a two-run single to right field in the fourth cutting the Dodge City lead to 6-3.  With two runners on, the threat to Conqs starter Tommy Knowlton (4-1) ended when Aeneas Roberson was caught trying to steal third for only the fourth time this year.

Jesse Gonzales added his sixth homer of the year on a solo shot to make it 6-4 Dodge City.  Dalton Harvey worked a spotless seventh with two strikeouts for his sixth save as he closed out both games on the day.

In game two, Garden City started out with the lead on Rafael Villela's opposite-field homer to left off Conqs starting pitcher Hayden Davey.  For Villela it was his first homer of his collegiate career, but for the Broncbusters it was their only offense of game two.

In the meantime, Dodge City continued to buy their time before their comeback in the seventh inning.  Noah Foreman pitched well, but would allow a two-out double to right by Cade Engle.  The hit was played into a double by Billy Clark's dive and the ball trickled before him for the two-bag hit. 

Engle's ability to reach second made it easy for him to score on Brayden Cook's double to left field cutting the Garden City lead down to 2-1.

The Broncbusters had a chance to add to their advantage in the sixth inning, but Ty Lightley popped out to short forcing Garden to leave the bases loaded.  J.T. Mossburg (2-0), who recorded the final out, went on to retire the next six he faced setting the stage for the seventh inning comeback by the Conquistadors.

Nick Ulmer came on in relief of Danny Weagle (L, 1-1) with the bases loaded and two outs.  He struggled with his control and walked back-to back batters before striking out Jake Pederson to end the threat.

Garden City had one last opportunity against Harvey and were able to string together two singles with two outs before the game ended with Aeneas Roberson taking a called third strike on a 2-2 pitch that nipped the outside corner.  For Harvey, it was his seventh save of the year ranking him second in the Jayhawk.

With the wins, Dodge City improved to 21-8-1, 11-3 in conference.  Garden City has lost four consecutive in conference dating back to being swept in the final two games against Barton.  Their record falls to 22-16, 10-8 in the Jayhawk West.

Both teams will be back at it Sunday.  Pre-game show is at 12:45 with the first pitch at 1pm from Cavalier Field on ESPN 99.9 and westernkansasnews.com.

 

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